Looking from a different window

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 23, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

Posted May 24, 2012
By EMC News

Taking a look at an issue in a different way often sheds an entirely new light on the subject.

Take for example any kind of disability.

We used to look away when a disabled person came into the room, these days we are all much more enlightened.

Just the same, it is difficult to understand what another person is going through, especially if they have no choice but to perceive the world through different eyes.

Recently, Tommy and Melanie Glatzmayer came by the South Branch Elementary School to share their story. Melanie has Cornelia de Lange, CdLS for short.

If you want, you could say she has a syndrome. She has developmental challenges that, in the end, make no difference at all, to who she is and who loves her.

When Tommy was just in Grade 1 he became upset when Melanie’s classmates made fun of her. He decided to write a children’s book that he hoped would open up some eyes and make Melanie’s classmates see her in a different way.

He saw her as his big sister, the one person in the world with whom he could have adventures. The children’s book called Melanie and Tommy have two pet rats and one syndrome was an instant hit.

The title cleverly sets up anyone reading the book to forget about Melanie’s syndrome. After all having two pet rats surely outweighs having one syndrome, whatever that might be.

The children the two present their book to in schools across the province do not notice Melanie’s challenges. They notice the story, they laugh at the two pet rats and they rush up to Melanie and Tommy at the end of the presentation to touch their new found friends’ rats and their keepers.

The crowds accept Melanie for who she is as she haltingly answers questions from her junior audience.

Melanie’s parents are not shy about the challenges Melanie has faced and overcome. They see her as their little girl just as the South Branch audience sees her as one of their contemporaries but with two rats to play with at home.

Because Tommy and Melanie present themselves as fellow children having an adventure with their pet rats, that is what their audience sees.

Hearing and watching children being children is a wonderful way to remind all of us how simple life should be.

It is important to realize that children, for the most part pick up all of their negativity, good and bad points of view and attitudes from us accomplished adults. You could say we frame our children’s world with the way we think.

Luckily for Melanie, her brother is who he is.

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